Spartan Life Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Christine Quist

Christine has taught 4th-5th grade, has worked as a Paraprofessional for Adult Learners, and has a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Elementary Education.

Spartan life was full of challenges and discipline for children on up to becoming a fighting machine as an adult. This lesson talks about the life of a citizen of Sparta and what it would have been like to grow up there.

Spartan Life

You fight in war after war, trained for battle against the toughest of conditions, as part of one of the greatest fighting forces the world has ever seen! You are a Spartan.

The term ''spartan'' has become known for meaning a simple life without a lot of comforts, such as free time or getting to eat treats. But in ancient Greece, the Spartans were a group of people who lived in a valley next to the river Evrotas in southern Greece. Sparta came to power around 650 BCE and finally came to an end around 396 CE. The Spartan people were very militaristic, meaning that they focused on having a military force to defend the people and trained their people from when they were very young to be soldiers.

Life for Boys

A Spartan mother giving her son a shield!
Spartan Mom

Spartan boys left their families at the age of seven, around second grade in today's schools, to head to a military training school, where they lived in barracks with other boys.

  • Boys from ages seven to seventeen learned to read and write, had a tough physical education to keep them healthy, and also studied singing and dancing!
  • Boys ages eighteen to nineteen were trained for the military and were taught survival techniques, such as how to find food and water in the wild.
  • Boys from ages 20 to 29 had intense military training and became part of the army.

When a boy turned 30, he was called an Equal and was able to marry and leave the barracks with full rights of citizenship.

Cowardice was considered a crime, and many men were punished for when they were afraid or would back down from a fight. The men were not fed well and were almost encouraged to steal food, but they had to do it well, because they were punished if they were caught! The life of a Spartan man was one full of difficulty and courage. He had to earn a place as a man in Sparta, unlike in places like America where you earn full citizenship rights as soon as you are born.

A Spartan picture of their code of honor
Code

Life for Girls

Growing up as a girl in Sparta was similar to being a boy. Around second grade, girls were sent to school to be trained in athletics and fitness so that they would grow up strong and healthy. They did this so that the girls would have strong and healthy children.

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